#LittlePilgrimage 35. Notre-Dame Basilica, Church of Saint Jeanne D’Arc & Saint Francis Xavie Church

so i went for another holiday in Vietnam last weekend. and i was so happy because i didn’t skip my weekly Mass and visited 3 local churches there.

i arrived night time at Hồ Chí Minh on last saturday, and decided not to go too far from my friend’s apartment, because i need to save my energy for the next 3 days.

on Sunday morning after we had breakfast, me and my friend and her husband went for a Mass in Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Saïgon) or officially known as Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception. Following the French conquest of Cochinchina and Saigon, the Roman Catholic Church established a community and religious services for French colonialists. All the original building materials were imported from France. Tiles have been carved with the words Guichard Carvin, Marseille St André France (perhaps stating the locality where the tiles were produced). Some tiles are carved with the words “Wang-Tai Saigon”. Many tiles have  been made in Ho Chi Minh City to replace the tiles that were damaged by the war. There are 56 glass squares supplied by the Lorin firm of Chartres province in France. The cathedral foundation was designed to bear ten times the weight of the cathedral.

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after the cathedral, me and my friend went to the Saigon Central Post Office (Bưu điện Trung tâm Sài Gòn) which located just next to the cathedral. it’s another old and classic building, and it’s worth to go for a philatelist like me. other than post stamp collection and post cards, they also sell many kind of souvenirs. but what most captivated my eyes was the interior, especially the unique ceiling design. after roaming around and took some pictures of the cathedral and post office, we decided to go for a lunch at the Thuận Kiều Restaurant.

before reaching the restaurant, my friend’s personal driver decided to drop us at the Church of Saint Jeanne D’Arc (Nhà thờ Ngã Sáu) or locally known as Thánh Nữ Jeanne D’Arc. the church is located in the Chinatown district of Saigon. Built from 1922 to 1928, this Ho Chi Minh City landmark is almost always photographed straight-on with a wide-angle lens in travel brochures. a statue of the brave lady saint can be seen above the entrance. but too bad the church was closed so we couldn’t get inside the building.

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after quick stop took some pictures, had lunch, we told to the driver to drop us to our next stop, Bình Tây Market. but the driver refused, “no, i will drop you to another church first.” well okay. obviously this driver really wanted to impress me with their beautiful local church! haha. but i don’t mind. the more church i visit the more pictures i can post on my blog! haha. lucky i went with my catholic friend and a catholic driver!

so the next church we stopped by for a quick prayer was a Saint Francis Xavie Church or locally known as Father Tam Church – Nhà thờ Cha Tam. a little bit history about this church, in 1898 the Chinese priest Father Francis Xavier Tam Assou was sent to Cholon by the local bishop to take care of the city’s Chinese Christians. His first act was to build a church for them, and ground breaking for the church was held on December 3, 1900. The gothic-style building was inaugurated in January 10, 1902 and dedicated to St. Francis Xavier, whom Father Assou was named after. The church boasts a 38 meter bell tower with a statue of St. Francis Xavier built inside. Father Tam’s grave can be viewed as you enter the church.

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i was so stoked with the churches hopping during my holiday with my friend accompanied me. it was always such a homey feeling everytime i enter a catholic church, wherever and what ever country the church is, always the same feeling.

see you on my next #LittlePilgrimage! :”D

photo credit and big thanks to ciMeL

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